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After a final effort, producing eight inches of snow on February 24, 
and three inches of hail March 4, the winter has gradually given way to 
spring. Not being willing to lose time, however, we decided not to wait for 
the definite cessation of the rains to being our trips through the country, 
but to set out March 14. During the previous month we had made a num- 
ber of shorter excursions within a radius of ten miles from Jerusalem. In 
these minor journeys the prime object was to visit the holy sites and shrines 
of the region in the environs of Jerusalem. Nearly all the Muslim and 
many of the Christian sanctuaries were examined, and the natives ques- 
tioned regarding their customs and usages in connection with the cult of 
prophets (inbiya-anbiya') and holy men (uliya-auliya')- Incidentally, the 
persistence of some very ancient rites and legends was established, and 
much folkloristic material of other sorts was gathered. The results of the 
investigation of wells and sacred places will be published by Professor 
McCown; it is the first elaborate and systematic treatment of the subject, 
following on the lines laid down by Professor Samuel Ives Curtis, whose 
pioneer work in this field placed American scholars under an obligation to 
continue the studies begun by their illustrious compatriot. 


Owing to the unprecedented rapidity of the economic and social 
evolution of Palestine today, where all races vie with one another in modern- 
izing culture and beliefs, the thorough study of the folklore of Palestine is 
a matter of imperative necessity. Every year interesting and significant 
details pass into oblivion, and it is rare indeed to find a young peasant who 
knows much; in one village we were told, "The old men think so and so, 
but we boys don't think so." The importance of these studies for under- 
standing the mind of the Palestinian peasant, in many respects no doubt 
like his Israelite and Canaanite predecessors, can hardly be overestimated. 
The interest of these researches for comparative religions may be illustrated 
by two facts: in Bethlehem, which, according to Epiphanius, was a center 
of Adonis worship in the Roman period, Adonis gardens are still prepared 
by some of the women, and set on the table for good luck eveiy Easter; 
in Jora, a village just off the site of ancient Ashkelon, the vernal procession 
of the goddess Atargatis from her temple to the sea, where her statue 
received a bath, still survives in a slightly modihed form. We are on the 
track of much interesting material in various branches of the field of folk- 
lore, especially in village legendary cycles and Bedu law, which is still 
administered by the mukhtars of Judaea, as well as by the sheikhs of the 
Negeb. The Director is now cooperating in these researches with a number 
of Syrian folklorists, especially four, Dr. Tewfik Canaan, Mr. Elias N. 
Haddad, Hanna Stephan, and Omar Effendi Barghuti, a young Muslim 
scholar of extraordinary promise and ability. He is also projecting, with 
Mr. E. N. Haddad, a new grammar and conversation book of Palestinian 
Arabic, in the international phonetic alphabet, as employed by Canon 
Gairdner for Egyptian Arabic. 


March 14-18 we joined a party from Jerusalem and Ramallah, 
hired a motor boat, and traveled the length of the Dead Sea and back.